Living With Chronic Illness: How To Stay Mentally Healthy 

Disclaimer: The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.


Whether you’re living with a chronic illness or experiencing other health challenges, staying mentally healthy can be difficult when you’re so focused on caring for your body. However, given that mental wellness is directly tied to physical well-being, it can be crucial to find ways to take care of every aspect of your health.

Chronic illness can pose unique challenges to those living with them, often making it difficult to complete everyday tasks or even get out of bed. Mounting medical bills, penalties for missing too much work, and falling behind financially are only a few of the obstacles these individuals must face. Combined with life’s other stressors, it’s understandable why chronic illness can create mental strain.

Here, we’ll delve into the impact of chronic illness and discuss how to foster positive mental health in light of the struggles you might be facing.


Staying Mentally Healthy With A Chronic Illness

The body and mind are intricately connected, highlighting the need to focus on both entities when managing a chronic illness. Consider implementing the following strategies to safeguard your mental health and support recovery:


  • Spend time with loved ones: Friends and family members can help you feel more supported and less alone in your struggles. They can be there for you when you need an extra hand and provide encouragement when you’re feeling down. Make time for the people you love, whether that means meeting up for dinner or talking on the phone.


  • Lean into your hobbies: Hobbies can fill your life with meaning and bring your focus to something besides your pain or symptoms. You might consider volunteering, joining a book club, or traveling with a tour group. Consider your limitations when choosing a hobby but remember that challenging yourself can also be rewarding. The time you spend engaging in your hobbies could be the best part of your week.


  • Take it one step at a time: Big tasks can feel daunting, as they have the potential to use up all of your energy for the day. Instead of focusing on one big task, try breaking it down into smaller steps. Using this approach can help you feel accomplished throughout the day instead of consistently defeated, which may give you more motivation to keep pressing into your to-do list.


  • Lead a healthy lifestyle: Exercising regularly and eating a nutritious diet can boost your energy levels while nourishing your body and mind. These habits can improve how you feel, potentially alleviating the physical symptoms you’re experiencing. Beyond that, a healthy lifestyle can increase your resilience and strength in the face of challenges, allowing you to feel more energized throughout the week. Note that healthy living also includes following the advice of your doctor, such as taking medications as directed.


  • Make time for yourself: Self-care plays a vital role in mental health and is important for everyone, despite the presence of a chronic illness. To practice self-care, you may take a long bath, read a book, go swimming, get a massage, or bake a cake. Anything that helps you relax and unwind can be considered a form of self-care to the extent that it’s healthy.


  • Speak with a therapist: Chronic illness can leave you feeling alone, especially if no one in your life can relate to what you’re experiencing. While talking to friends or family members may be comforting, a therapist can work with you to identify ways to cope with your specific situation. Individuals with chronic illnesses are at an increased risk of developing mental health disorders like depression, making it critical to find ways to alleviate their symptoms.


When it comes to managing a chronic illness, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You may need to work with a doctor, therapist, and other professionals to find what works most effectively for you. Remember that physical and mental health can change rapidly, making it important to stay consistent in caring for yourself. However, don’t be afraid to try new methods if something is no longer serving you. Your unique journey of living with a chronic illness is likely to be filled with highs and lows and plenty of new discoveries; keeping an open mind along the way can help ensure that your needs are being met despite changing circumstances.


Coping With Chronic Illness

Individuals living with chronic illness may choose to cope in several ways, some of which may be healthier than others. The emotional toll of living with these conditions can sometimes manifest in unhealthy behaviors, such as emotional eating, for example. Managing a chronic illness may lead to anxiety or depression, causing an individual to turn to food as a way to cope with their emotions. This makes it crucial for these individuals to focus not only on their physical but mental well-being.

If you or a loved one is struggling in this area, it could be useful to find a therapist who specializes in chronic illness or emotional eating. You can learn more by visiting the following link: A therapist can provide alternative options for coping with a chronic illness that promote positive physical and mental wellness.

The challenges associated with living with a chronic illness can take a toll not only on your physical health but also on your mental health. By recognizing the connection between the body and mind, you can take steps to safeguard your overall well-being. There are plenty of strategies you can use to support yourself along your unique journey, as well as resources available should you need professional guidance. No matter which methods you utilize, it’s essential to create a recovery plan that accommodates your lifestyle and fits your needs. With time, effort, and consistency, you can make your way toward the healthiest version of you.